1. DAVID IN THE COURT OF KING SAUL
a. What lesson did God want to teach Samuel when a replacement was needed for the rejected King Saul? 1 Samuel 16:7 (second half).
b. What providential event enabled David to gain experience in royal court life prior to his coronation? 1 Samuel 16:17–21. Why did God give him this experience?
“In the providence of God, David, as a skillful performer upon the harp, was brought before the king. . . . [David] had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he now set his heart more fully to do the will of God than ever before. He had new themes for thought. He had been in the court of the king and had seen the responsibilities of royalty. He had discovered some of the temptations that beset the soul of Saul and had penetrated some of the mysteries in the character and dealings of Israel’s first king. . . . God was teaching David lessons of trust. As Moses was trained for his work, so the Lord was fitting the son of Jesse to become the guide of His chosen people.”—Ibid., p.643, 644.
2. SAUL’S MURDEROUS DESIGN AGAINST DAVID
a. How did God inspire David to meet Goliath’s challenge against Israel? 1 Samuel 17:23, 24, 37, 45–49. What can we learn from this experience in our own efforts to evangelize the world today?
“Our ministers should not defy and provoke discussion. . . . [Some ministers] have not, like humble David, trusted in the God of Israel, and made Him their strength. They have gone forth confident and boastful, like Goliath, magnifying themselves and not hiding behind Jesus. . . .
“Young preachers should study the practical teachings of Christ as well as the theoretical, and learn of Jesus, that they may have His grace, His meekness, His humility and lowliness of mind.”—Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 219, 220.
b. When and how did Saul begin to reveal one of the weakest points in his character? 1 Samuel 18:6–9.
“No man is safe who lives that he may please men and does not seek first for the approbation of God. It was the ambition of Saul to be first in the estimation of men; and when this song of praise was sung, a settled conviction entered the mind of the king that David would obtain the hearts of the people and reign in his stead.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 650.
c. What incidents show that Saul was now controlled by an evil spirit? 1 Samuel 19:11, 17; 20:27–31.
“Saul opened his heart to the spirit of jealousy by which his soul was poisoned. . . . The monarch of Israel was opposing his will to the will of the Infinite One. Saul had not learned, while ruling the kingdom of Israel, that he should rule his own spirit. He allowed his impulses to control his judgment, until he was plunged into a fury of passion. He had paroxysms of rage, when he was ready to take the life of any who dared oppose his will.”—Ibid.
3. DAVID A FUGITIVE
a. What were some of the various places David looked to for refuge after he realized his life was in danger? 1 Samuel 21:1, 10; 22:1. Was his fear justified? 1 Samuel 22:16–18, 20, 21. Should he have feared Saul at all? 1 John 4:18.
“Every failure on the part of the children of God is due to their lack of faith. When shadows encompass the soul, when we want light and guidance, we must look up; there is light beyond the darkness. David ought not to have distrusted God for one moment.”—Ibid., p.657.
b. In fleeing from his father-in-law, King Saul, what acts of dishonesty demonstrated David's lack of faith in God's protection? 1 Samuel 21:2, 8, 13–15.
“David told the priest that he had been sent by the king on a secret errand, one which required the utmost expedition. Here he manifested a want of faith in God, and his sin resulted in causing the death of the high priest. Had the facts been plainly stated, Ahimelech would have known what course to pursue to preserve his life. God requires that truthfulness shall mark His people, even in the greatest peril.”—Ibid., p.656.
c. Though we should never unnecessarily bring persecution upon ourselves, how may David’s experience be repeated in our own day? Matthew 10:22, 23. What promise may we claim at such times? 2 Corinthians 12:19.
“Between righteousness and sin, love and hatred, truth and falsehood, there is an irrepressible conflict. When one presents the love of Christ and the beauty of holiness, he is drawing away the subjects of Satan’s kingdom, and the prince of evil is aroused to resist it. Persecution and reproach await all who are imbued with the Spirit of Christ. The character of the persecution changes with the times, but the principle—the spirit that underlies it—is the same that has slain the chosen of the Lord ever since the days of Abel.”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 29.
4. THE MAGNAMINITY OF DAVID
a. In what way did the local people of Ziph offer to betray David and his men? What happened to disrupt their plan? 1 Samuel 23:19, 20, 25–28.
b. When Saul, after driving out the Philistines, returned to pursue David, how did David demonstrate his magnanimity? 1 Samuel 24:1, 3, 4, 8, 10, 15. What was Saul’s response? 1 Samuel 24:16–20.
“[1 Samuel 24:9–11 quoted.] When Saul heard the words of David he was humbled, and could not but admit their truthfulness. His feelings were deeply moved as he realized how completely he had been in the power of the man whose life he sought. David stood before him in conscious innocence. . . .
“The enmity that is cherished toward the servants of God by those who have yielded to the power of Satan changes at times to a feeling of reconciliation and favor, but the change does not always prove to be lasting. After evil-minded men have engaged in doing and saying wicked things against the Lord’s servants, the conviction that they have been in the wrong sometimes takes deep hold upon their minds. The Spirit of the Lord strives with them, and they humble their hearts before God, and before those whose influence they have sought to destroy, and they may change their course toward them. But as they again open the door to the suggestions of the evil one, the old doubts are revived, the old enmity is awakened, and they return to engage in the same work which they repented of, and for a time abandoned.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 662, 663.
c. In preaching the gospel today, what lessons should the soldiers of the cross learn from the magnanimity of David? Romans 12:17–21.
“God works out His plans, though to human eyes they are veiled in mystery. Men cannot understand the ways of God; and, looking at appearances, they interpret the trials and tests and provings that God permits to come upon them as things that are against them, and that will only work their ruin.”—Ibid., p.672.
5. A TIMELY LESSON
a. What continued fault did David manifest after he spared Saul’s life a second time? 1 Samuel 27:1.
“God was dishonored by David’s unbelief. The Philistines had feared David more than they had feared Saul and his armies; and by placing himself under the protection of the Philistines, David discovered to them the weakness of his own people. . . . By this act he gave [his brethren] occasion for misconstruing his motives, and many were led to hold prejudice against him. The very thing that Satan desired to have him do he was led to do; for, in seeking refuge among the Philistines, David caused great exultation to the enemies of God and His people. David did not renounce his worship of God nor cease his devotion to His cause; but he sacrificed his trust in Him to his personal safety, and thus tarnished the upright and faithful character that God requires His servants to possess.”—Ibid., pp.672, 673.
b. How patiently do we have to struggle, with many hours spent on our knees, when we are working for the restoration of those who have become the enemies of the truth? Hebrews 12:3, 12–14.
“Then let us take heed lest we deal with the erring in a way that would say to others that we have no need of redemption. Let us not denounce, condemn, and destroy as though we were faultless. It is the work of Christ to mend, to heal, to restore.”—In Heavenly Places, p. 291.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Why was David put providentially in the court of Saul?
2. What was one of the weakest points in the character of Saul, and when did he begin to reveal it?
3. What warning of Jesus should come to our mind when we think of the persecution suffered by David?
4. Why did not David believe Saul’s confession at Engedi?
5. What lessons should the soldiers of the cross learn from the magnanimity of David?